As you'll have likely spotted by now, this blog has been somewhat dormant for a couple of years!   The excuses are many - not least the migration of most of my blogging efforts away from DominoBlog to Wordpress...

Therefore, I've decided to call it quits on ibmconnectionsblog.com.

However, please don't think that this is a backward step for my coverage of IBM Connections as a product.  Instead, this is the opportunity to launch an entirely new, and considerably larger and more comprehensive site!  

Let me introduce IBMConnections.com...



With a new URL, a new platform, and a huge amount of new information, this is my new unofficial 'supersite' for IBM Connections!

The new site features new sections listing:

  • ISV solutions for IBM Connections
  • IBM Partners providing Connections services and solutions
  • publicly available videos relating to Connections
  • useful resources including books, documentation, education and training, press releases, references and case studies etc.
  • events including user groups and webcasts

In addition, there is a news section that is updated almost every work day, with posts authored by myself and respected peers from around the community.  Our first community contributor will be announced next week.  

The site is designed to be a community resource rather than to promote my own business or services, therefore all contributions and submissions will be welcomed.  There are already forms on the site for solution and partner details to be submitted for inclusion.  There is also an associated Twitter ID, @ibmcnx, which will support the site and tweet out details of new entries and useful content.

This announcement also means that this is the end of the road for IBMConnectionsBlog.com.  All posts from this blog will be migrated across to the new site and eventually this blog will be closed.  I'd like to thank everyone that has read, commented, shared and supported the site since it was launched in February 2007, just a week or so after IBM (Lotus) Connections was announced.  Long live IBMConnections.com!



By: Stuart McIntyre | 0 Comments | On: 23 July 2014 12:04:45 PM | Tags:  migration  ibmconnections  ibmcnx 

Niklas Heidloff and the team at OpenNTF recently raised the question of which hashtag should be used for IBM Connections development-related posts and tweets.  

It's a very fair question, after all having an agreed common hashtag that is used on relevant posts makes it much easier for advocates and newcomers alike to find and follow Connections-related content.  Given that IBM is pushing Connections as a development platform of the future, it is crucial that the community makes Connections as open and prominent for developers as we possibly can.

Therefore, I asked the question on Twitter, Skype and LinkedIn over the past 7-10 days, captured a number of suggestions, and opened a vote.  The results are now in:

Hashtag Vote Results

So, the community has spoken...  #ibmcnx and #ibmcnxdev have been chosen!

Let's see them being used! ;-)



By: Stuart McIntyre | 66 Comments | On: 4 June 2012 07:30:00 PM | Tags:  ibmcnx  ibm  connections 

We'd been having a few debates online over the past few months about how to grow the IBM Connections community.  

It's already pretty strong, and has definitely grown in size as new versions of the technology have been shipped by IBM - the number of practitioners working with Connections 3.0.1 is a world away from those that were around with Connections 2.0 for example.  However, there's definitely room for improvement!

So if you're interested in Connections, here's some things you can do to get involved:

  • Read PlanetLotus regularly as there's lots of great blog posts about IBM Connections.  A search for 'Connections' yields a tonne of posts.
  • If you're working with Connections yourself, even if it is just learning about the technology, post about IBM Connections on your own blog.  You can bet that if you are struggling with some fundamental concern or issue, there will be others that are in the same boat!
  • Comment on blogs you read, join the conversation! I know from personal experience that just a quick comment saying 'Your post has really helped me, thank you.' means a great deal.
  • If you're of a technical bent, take part in the IBM Forum for Connections.  If you can, answer other posts (even if it's just to say that you have seen the same issue).  If not, just make sure that you post your own problems as it all adds to the knowledge base for others.
  • Join the LinkedIn group for IBM Connections.  This 1,700 strong community is fantastic whatever your background as there is a mix of technical and business-led discussions, as well as polls and lots of shared news and announcements.  There are even job postings on occasion!  Of course LinkedIn proves a great way to meet with 'non-community' folks as many will be present on LinkedIn even if they have never read a blog post or been to a LUG, so please do make sue you are involved in this group.
  • Attend a LUG or an IBM event such as Lotusphere or the Social Business Roadshows.  There is nothing as invigorating as meeting other impassioned individuals face-to-face!  User groups are a great way to meet some of the key Connections advocates from inside and outside of IBM, and usually have at least a few Connections-focused sessions to aid your understanding of the product.  Possibly even better, there is the Social Connections user group which meets every six months and is 100% focused on IBM Connections content.  The next event is in Dublin in June, with future events planned for the Netherlands and the USA.
  • Join the IBM Connections community Skype chat. Many of the other forums and discussion spaces work on an asynchronous basis - ask a question and wait a few hours (or possibly a few days) for a response.  The Connections Skype chat brings a community of Connections specialists to your fingertips.  Ask howto questions, clarify your thinking on a new customisation, ask for advice on adoption, even paste your log file snippets when dealing with a tricky issue!  If you'd like to be involved, just contact one of the current members and ask to be added - you can email me if in any doubt!
  • Join the IBM Connections Users community on the Greenhouse, discuss Connections with other users and raise your suggestions for enhancements using the Ideation Blog feature!
  • If you have development-related questions around IBM Connections, raise them on StackOverflow - a terrific way to reach beyond the typical IBM/Lotus developer community.

I'm sure there are plenty more, but that's a good start!

One of the topics that is being discussed is to have a common hashtag that we use for all Connections-related content to make it easier to find on social media like Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as in Google Searches and on sites such as StackOverflow.  The hashtag needs to be instantly recognisable but also short.  It is also suggested that we have two, one for general Connections content, and one for specific development-related information - think the equivalent of  #domino and #xpages.  We've had a few suggestions as to what might work, and have opened a poll in the LinkedIn group:
What hashtags should we use on Twitter and in blog posts for IBM Connections (in general) and for IBM Connections Development?
  • #ibmconnections & #ibmconnectionsdev
  • #ibmcon & #ibmcondev
  • #ibmcnx & #ibmcnxdev
  • #connections & #connectionsdev
  • Something else
We'd love as much feedback as we can get so that we can make the right decision on this and that it really is a community decision.  Please do take the time to vote!

In closing, there is already a fantastic Connections community out there.  Sure it isn't as big as the Notes/Domino one right now, but it is active, energetic and growing fast.  If you're interested in Connections and Social Business in general, there is no time like the present.  Get stuck in, and you are sure to recoup far more than you yourself put in.  After all, that's the whole point of Social, right?! ;-)



By: Stuart McIntyre | 6 Comments | On: 29 May 2012 08:00:00 AM | Tags:  connections  ibm  twitter  blog  hashtags 

Stuart blogged back in January about a known issue with downloading files from the files application using Chrome.

chromeIssue

IBM do not officially support Chrome with Connections 3.0.1 - but our good friend & IBM Champion Sjaak Ursinus has devised a work around.

Header edit Content-Disposition ^(.*)creation-date=(.*);\smodification-date=(.*);$ "$1creation-date=\"$2\"; modification-date=\"$3\";"

ensure the mod_header module is uncommented httpd.conf

save and close the file.

Restart the HTTP server to pick up the change

Sjaak's full explanation can be found on the Connections Forum



By: Sharon Bellamy | 47 Comments | On: 16 March 2012 10:59:03 AM | Tags:  connections  fix  chrome  header  issue 

I have had a PMR open for some time relating to a bit of a known issue with Custom themes and Connections communties

There was an issue where you would create a custom theme



In my case I also customised the coloured community themes also



When clicking on forums, blogs etc the theme was stripped out displaying



It appears there was a step missing from the wiki!!

http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/lcwiki.nsf/dx/Defining_a_community_theme_ic301

Step 1.d
- d. Remove the file theme.css from the corporateTheme directory

In my case I had based my custom theme on the default theme and had used it as the default Community theme (which has no theme.css), so all communities with the default theme appeared correctly.

BUT
, I had also lightly customised the coloured community themes - removing (or renaming) the theme.css from each coloured theme has resolved the issue.

Thank you mr Kieran Reid for investigating and confirming this was the issue.



By: Sharon Bellamy | 43 Comments | On: 16 March 2012 09:36:47 AM | Tags:  community  themes  connections  issue 

Whilst building a new Connections environment for a customer we noticed a strange issue when uploading large files to the media gallery.




Initially I thought it was related to the size of the file, but the same file will upload to the Connections files application without issue. There is very little errors in the SystemOut.log for the Connections server, so I was baffled.

A PMR was opened and the very helpful Mr Dave McCarthy was the PMR owner and we then started on our investigation. During the testing I noticed that the uploads appeared to timeout after 20 mins, exactly 20 mins. After some experimenting on 4 different Connections systems, it was confirmed that it was a timeout, reguardless of the file policy or file library size. So not many people are on a intenet connection that may take 20 mins to upload a video, but we know it is an issue as the customer I was building the system for confirmed this.

After much digging through existing PMRs Dave was stummped, so the PMR was passed up the chain to the development team. Who confirmed very quickly that their is a setting in the config.js which is burried in the news ear file which has a time out set to 1200 sec (20 minutes)!! Change this setting and as if by magic the timeout issue is resolved.

To change the time out setting do the following :


/installedApps//News.ear/qkr.lw.war/WEB-INF/pages/js/config.js
                                                               
Find this section, (Line 450), that specifies some timeout values,      
including one for upload that is set to 1200 sec (20 minutes):          
                                                               
timeout: {                                                              
request: 60,                                                      
update: 200,                                                      
upload: 1200,                                                    
retrieveFiles: 100,                                              
userSearch: 200,                                                  
userTypeahead: 10                                                
},


Raise the upload value from 1200 to what is needed to complete the large file upload on your connection speed and save the file.  Then restart the News application to make the change effective. This file should be changed on the primary Connections node if you have more than one and sync the changes around the other nodes.



By: Sharon Bellamy | 73 Comments | On: 15 March 2012 09:43:23 AM | Tags:  connections  mediawidget  timeout  issue-resolved 

As many of you will be aware, Michael Sampson is one of the leading Collaboration and Social Business Strategists, with a number of fantastic books to aid those that are implementing such systems within their organisations.  Michael and I have worked together on a number of customer engagements and I greatly value his work.

Michael is currently running a fresh version of his survey on user adoption strategies.  The output from the survey will be used for an update to his book on the topic and also for his session at AusLUG in March.  He'd love your input:

Michael SampsonI am currently running a survey on how organizations approach user adoption for collaboration tools. Many people have filled out the survey in the past couple of months, but I only have 25 responses from organizations using IBM Connections. I know there are a lot more of you out there ... and I'm very interested to read the pulse on your approach.

Here's an offer for organizations with IBM Connections. If I can get more than 100 respondents using IBM Connections to complete the survey, I will run a special webinar just for IBM Connections customers on the survey results. The webinar will report on what organizations with IBM Connections are doing from an adoption perspective. If I get more than 200 responses, I will write up the findings in a report ... and give a free copy to every IBM Connections organization that completes the survey (and leaves contact details).

So, if you use IBM Connections ... please take the user adoption survey now.

Thanks much!
So if you have deployed IBM Connections, please do head over to Michael's survey and let him know how you are approaching user adoption.  Your input will make a great difference to many others that will look to roll out Connections in the future.  Thanks!



By: Stuart McIntyre | 1 Comments | On: 10 February 2012 09:10:00 AM | Tags:  connections  ibm  adoption  survey 

I've been making a point in recent meetings with IBM re: Connections that the Widgets page is a little out of place, particularly on new installs, and that it should possible to disable it for all users.

Good idea?

Well, it turns out that the option has been in Connections since at least 3.0!  Just go to the Connections Homepage features Administration tab (you need the appropriate rights of course), and there it is:

Fountainhead Home Page

Just switch this to 'Disabled' and Save, and the tab goes away.  In fact it disappears immediately...

skitched-20120208-071703

to:

Fountainhead Home Page

Not sure how I missed that, but maybe you have too!



By: Stuart McIntyre | 34 Comments | On: 8 February 2012 07:12:30 AM | Tags:  connections  widgets  homepage 

A very important technote from IBM was released over the weekend - 'Update strategy for IBM Connections 3.0.1':

This document describes the recommended strategy and steps for applying maintenance updates to IBM Connections 3.0.1.
Detailing the process involved in deploying Component Refresh (CR) updates, it takes the reader through all the necessary steps - from backup through protecting customizations to the actual application of the fix.

As an aside, the CR3 update that was released way back in September 2011 seems to be finally making it out for public consumption.  If you are having an issue with Connections 3.0.1, it is definitely worth contacting IBM Support to see if CR3 may help.

Anyway, this technote is surely worth filing away for later use.



By: Stuart McIntyre | 39 Comments | On: 6 February 2012 08:25:58 PM | Tags:  connections  ibm  update  strategy 

IBM Connections 3.0.1 is supported on the following browsers:

Operating System Browser
Windows Internet Explorer 6 (except RSS feeds)
internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 8
Mozilla Firefox 3.5
Mozilla Firefox 3.6
Mac OS X Safari 5
Mozilla Firefox 3.5
Mozilla Firefox 3.6
Linux Mozilla Firefox 3.5
Mozilla Firefox 3.6


As you can see this is a pretty comprehensive list, with the primary browsers across all the common OS platforms.  It represents a LOT of testing and support.

However it is also a little, ermmm, tired at this point.  We have Internet Explorer 9 in common use, the Firefox release schedule has gone berserk in recent months and is suddenly at version 9 as well, and the huge elephant in the room is Google Chrome which according to some studies is now representing at least 25% of browser use.  

This is not intended as criticism of IBM, they have a very very tough job testing the product against all the platforms and combinations and the browser vendors seem to be trying to outdo themselves with new releases and feature/functions at this point.  Whilst most enterprise-level customers (IBM's sweet spot, remember) are locked into versions of Internet Explorer pre-version 9 right now, one could argue that they are investing in the right platforms.  However, in my experience, an increasing share of Connections environments are being targeted at the non-enterprise customer (we have at least five such projects on the go right now), where no such control of browsers platforms is available.  Users will be using whatever browser they use for the rest of the Social web, and for the technically-astute that is going to be the latest releases of Chrome or Firefox.  The browser vendors (particularly Google) are also getting better at automatically upgrading user browsers automatically rather than asking for permission.  Put all this together, and wider and more recent browser support is becoming ever more critical day by day.

[To compound the issue, I have a feeling that IBM expected the next version of Connections to at least be imminent by this point, and thus newer browser support is baked into that rather than the current release 3.0.1.  But with that version seeming to still be a little way off (I'm sure we'll hear news at Lotusphere), we need to work with what we have now.]

So, why the title of the post? A story of two browsers? Well, I have some good news and some bad news...

Let's start with the good news!  There have been some issues with Connections Files and versions of Mozilla Firefox since version 4.  Files would simply not load.  This has been a known issue for a while, and has been causing some consternation as whilst Firefox 3.6 is the latest supported release, so many users have upgraded beyond that version.  So, I am really really pleased that IBM has released an iFix for this issue which means that Files works in all current releases of Firefox once more.  3.0.1.0-IC-Multi-Files-HF1-IFLO58492 is what you need.  This is not yet on FixCentral, so contact our good friends in IBM support to obtain the fix package (and thanks to David McCarthy in IBM Dublin for making me aware of this news!).

The not so good news... Whilst Google Chrome has been unsupported with Connections to this point, it has worked pretty well so far.  There have been some issues with rich text editing, but mostly it has been a fine experience.  I've used Chrome as my primary browser for at least a year and have not looked back.  However, this has changed in the last month with an automatic update for Chrome breaking support for Connections.  The issue again affects Files, with attempts to download files from the system resulting in a 'Duplicate Headers' message:

skitched-20120110-063901

This occurs in both Windows and Mac versions of Chrome.  I spotted this last week, and Chris Whisonant blogged it yesterday too. This Google forum thread suggests the issue is due to recent versions of Chrome being very sensitive to "Content-Disposition" in the response headers, and it seems to affect multiple software platforms.  It is possible that Google will change this, but in the meantime the only option is to avoid using Chrome with Connections Files.  I'll be asking IBM for a fix, but I'm not sure what their response will be given that there is no official support for the browser today. I'll let you know!



By: Stuart McIntyre | 150 Comments | On: 10 January 2012 06:02:52 AM | Tags:  connections  chrome  firefox